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What do social media content bans mean for free speech?

Employees of the Internet company Facebook walk through the courtyard of the company campus in Menlo Park, California. Source: Getty

Facebook recently announced two major bans, on Holocaust denial content and paid anti-vaccination advertisements.

The company will no longer accept advertisements discouraging people from getting vaccines; or that portray vaccines as unsafe or ineffective; or that claim the diseases vaccines prevent are harmless. Unpaid posts by people or groups that discourage vaccinations are still allowed, the new policy only applies to paid advertisements.

Facebook says the new policy of prohibiting content that "denies or distorts the Holocaust" is well supported.

Technology expert and commentator Trevor Long says the new rules filter out conspiracy-related content, which is often incentivised in our feeds to attract clicks.

"Hopefully for a lot of people it won't affect them at all because they are not seeing this kind of thing. But there are enough people engaging in this content and it is spreading quite easily. Hopefully it means we see less conspiracy-style content. The kind of content that gets your eye, and you think 'what is that?'. They are trying to get you to engage in that content and get you to join groups and trick you into believing them and sharing it. Hopefully Facebook puts an end to that."

To hear the full report click on the audio link above.

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Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

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